How to Avoid Common Mistakes in Lawn Care

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If you are keeping up with lawn care but are still frustrated by the way it looks, it may be a result of not knowing these common lawn care mistakes.

Mistake 1: Dull Lawnmower Blades

When blades are dull, they don't cut the grass, they rip it. This causes "cut injury" which makes it difficult for the lawn to absorb water, making your lawn weak and more susceptible to disease and damage.

To determine if your lawnmower blade needs to be sharpened, just take a look at your grass from the ground up. Kneel down, put your face close to the ground and look horizontally across the yard. If you see shabby and shredded grass blade tips rather than a nice clean crisp cut, it's time to sharpen that blade.

Mistake 2: Cutting Grass Too Short

This is another way to weaken a lawn's overall health and could cause browning or wilting. Allow your grass to grow up to 3 inches to 3½ inches in height, then cut only 1/3 off the top. This length encourages bounce and allows for less shock and a better ability to absorb water and nutrients. Adjust the height of your mower blades by raising or lowering the wheels.

Mistake 3: Watering Improperly

If you water during a hot day the water will evaporate before the grass receives any benefit. If you water at night, especially in areas of high humidity, the grass will often grow mold and mildew since it does not have the advantage of the sun to aid in the process of water absorption.

Overwatering can be an issue during the day as well. It is a bit of a science to understand all the environmental factors that influence the health of grass. The best way to determine if your yard needs watering is to simply look for these signs: the grass appears to have a blue-gray tint, the tips are beginning to curl and when you walk on your lawn, the footprints do not quickly bounce back.

Mistake 4: Improper Fertilizing

Over fertilize and you risk burning the grass or causing it to grow too fast and you will be mowing more than you need to. Grass type and climate need to be considered before applying fertilizer. Fertilizer should be applied a minimum of two times per year and a maximum of five times. Verify with your local lawn care professional to be certain you are applying the right product for your grass type.

Water immediately after, or within 24 hours of, applying the fertilizer to your yard. By waiting longer the undissolved pellets will start burning the grass. Time of year plays an important part as well. Warm Season Grass, grass that "greens up" during the summer months and goes dormant, stops growing while losing its green color, should be fertilized at least two times during the spring and summer months.

Cool Season Grass is a grass that grows nice and green during the spring months, grows slower in the summer, and then starts growing again in the fall. It never loses it's green and should be fertilized during these spring and fall growth periods.